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The Boston Marathon bombing of April 15 may be six weeks behind residents of Beantown, but they’ll be reminded of their city’s resilience with the May 30 concert Boston Strong.
The epic fundraiser was spearheaded by Jared Paul, longtime concert-industry veteran and manager of boy band New Kids on the Block. The idea, he tells The Hollywood Reporter, came from a phone call in which the group’s members relayed how “taken” they were “by what happened in Boston.” Paul then contacted Live Nation who gifted the venue for the event, which he in turn booked.
On the bill: hometown acts New Kids on the Block, Aerosmith, Boston, Dane Cook, J. Geils Band, Dropkick Murphys and Extreme, along with Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett, Carole King, James Taylor and Steven Wright.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the One Fund, set up by the mayor of Boston to aid victims of the bombings. Other goals of the night, adds Paul, are “to honor the first responders in law enforcement who stepped in, and then to celebrate the town of Boston, a town that’s so near and dear to the New Kids’ heart, and it’s the very fabric of who they are.”
Charities aside, Jared Paul has developed a reputation as a formidable player in the live music industry. Case in point: the 55-date package tour of New Kids of the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men, which kicked off May 29, is close to a complete sellout. The successful trek falls in line with Paul’s previous outings, including the 2011 Glee Live tour and the upcoming Big Time Rush tour this summer.
Paul readily admits there’s an additional complexity that comes with producing a tour connected to a television show, but that’s not the case for nostalgia packages like that of New Kids and friends. Although it’s more than 15 years since any of the groups last had a radio hit, somehow, the audience keeps coming back for more.
Paul credits “pent-up demand” and the simple notion of a girls’ night out. “I think it’s camaraderie for some girls,” he says, adding that the New Kids guys have also “upped their game. … The band puts on an amazing show, they give people two hours of an up-tempo, party vibe. There’s sex appeal in it. … We compare it to some of the old-school jam bands. Their shows are communities of people, and it’s a happening.”
The industry veteran has something to prove, too: that his group “are ultimately the genre leaders. … [NKOTB] are the ones that came first; they put their foot in the water, go in the deep-end … and give the fans what they want.”
The New Kids on the Block tour begins May 30 at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. The Boston Strong concert kicks off at 7 p.m. EST from Boston’s TD Garden and will be streamed on Billboard.com.